“I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. I will face my fear, I will let it pass through me.”~Frank Herbert.
It occurred to me recently it’s easy forget, in the Grand Anxiety Attack of the submission process, that agents and editors are human, too. Humans in an often thankless job, no less. We’ve all been there, being the bearer of bad tidings and being nailed to the wall like a bad toupee for our troubles. I’ve been there, and I can tell you from experience it’s not fun in the least. Especially in this day and age of the Dire Interwebz, when no one is accustomed to waiting.
In such an environment it’s too easy to forget everyone is human.
To which I say “RELAX, already.”
“Easy for you to say,” says you. “You’re all, almost published and smack.”
To which I respond, “Which means I’m speaking from experience.”
Rewind back to the end of February of this year. Submissions to Samhain Publishing’s End of Days anthology was due March 1. Counting down the hours, I manage to get my entry edited down to just below the minimum (not maximum, mind you) word count and a synopsis emailed in. I knew it was the best I’d ever written, I was so under the wire I had no cooling off period before a final tightening, no goodbye kiss, no “Sayonara, brave warrior.” My synopsis was fired off in a matter of minutes. A decision would be made by April 15.
And so I waited.
And, well . . . yanno.
Fast forward to April 15. Horrible week at the office. I mean, a real doozy. Epic, you might say. The very last thing I needed at that particular moment was a rejection.
Well, thank gawd for that, because the universe decided to give me a break and cash in my good karma points. My first acceptance, ever. I shrieked. Darling Spouse couldn’t decide whether I was being murdered or doing the murdering, and the scattering Ninja Katz weren’t talking.
I waited impatiently for my contract to arrive, and to receive word it was okay to announce the sale, since I was on the point of imploding for the excitement.
Then I said to myself, “Self? Let’s be professional, proactive writerly-types, and actually begin revisions now, so Lovely Intrepid Editor will be most impressed with us.”
Bad idea. I found myself mortified, horrified, and other lethal-sounding adjectives as well. The mistakes! The grammar faux-pas! The . . . the . . . OMMFG ON TOAST I CALLED MY PROTAGONIST BY ANOTHER PROTAGONIST’S NAME ON PAGE 47 WHAT WAS I THINKING, I AM THE MOST AWFUL WRITER ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET, I SHOULD BE DRAGGED OUT INTO THE STREET AND SHOT.
This, to my mind, was worse than calling out Richard Armitage’s name in bed, who, for the record I am not married to. I am, however married to a Riker/Batali hybrid who is a saint for putting up with me. Really.
I’d thought it was ready. I’d thought I’d done the best I could. And I had, given the time crunch.
Yet, I got my first acceptance for it. Evar. And Lovely Intrepid Editor was so very nice, so unlike my Evil Infernal Editor, and not derisive at all. Like Gandalf versus the Balrog, and me as Gollum in the middle.
Which made me wonder. what had I gotten myself into? *whimper*
Several gushing (on my part), cowering (also on my part) email exchanges ensued regarding my first round of edits, just recently. I was allowed to ask questions in a teeny tiny voice and was supplied with very helpful encouraging answers. I was even generously allowed to subject Lovely Intrepid Editor with further
atrocities manuscripts in future, which spoke to the beginning of a beautiful friendship (Yessss, precioussss . . . we loves our Master, we does . . .)
In one of the responses (on her part), there was a small, but noticeable spelling/grammatical mishap (on her part). Also, she is apparently busy enough to abbreviate responses to 160 characters or less, leaving me with a case of mild QBG* but friendly enough that suddenly I remembered what oxygen tasted like, and decided it was probably okay to indulge.
Writing is like--besides war--being a parent. All you can do is your best, and try not to worry too much when you send your darling out into the world with its shoes untied.
*Question Bombardment Guilt
TO DO THIS WEEK:
1. Big Dang Projeckt: The Minstrel suffers the effects of too much travel/stress/Sooper Sekrit Powers (TM), we are introduced to the third and final antagonist, and find out a secondary character is preggers, adding conflict to the life of the Good Son, FK's bro, because this is what he really needs right about now.
2. Keepers #2: Research! Namely, on the Great Fires of History--I see London, I see Chicago--oh, wait. That doesn't rhyme. Also to research, one of my favorite subjects: creepy New Orleans history. As suspected, I had trouble with back story, so I need to finish that up this week (once the Great Fire research is done), then work on character dreams and wardrobe. I get a lot of "huh?" questions about the dream work I do, as I don't believe it's a common practice (at least from what I've read). Honestly, tho, it works, and I almost always end up using it in come capacity. In Brighid's Cross I used the dream work I did for all three main characters.
3. Karma Points: You know the drill: tap in my 8s (yo, 8s!), First Chapter review on OWW, and draft next Sunday's blog post.
Edits for Brighid's Cross are in da house--that is to say, not my house any longer, but Lovely, Intrepid Editor's, which is to say Samhain's house.